Irish republicans have condemned the decision by 26 County Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to expel a Russian diplomat as a flagrant disregard for Irish neutrality and have linked it to increasing militarisation within Europe.
The decision by the Dublin government to expel the diplomat followed a nerve agent attack on a Russian exile who previously spied for Britain, Sergei Skripal.
The Russian administration has denied responsibility for the attack and repeatedly called for evidence of their alleged involvement to be made available for independent review. An Irish diplomat was expelled from Moscow in retaliation.
According to Tanaiste Simon Coveney, the decision was based on a “security-service assessment” conducted after a European Union summit which concluded that the Russian Federation was “highly likely” to have been responsible. He said that all EU member states should stand in “unqualified solidarity” with Britain.
The Dublin government has admitted its decision was based solely on information provided to it by the British intelligence services.
This has been vehemently condemned by republicans and progressives in Ireland who pointed to disinformation and deception by Mi5 and MI6 in recent international conflicts, as well as their role in attacks and assassinations during the conflict in Ireland.
A spokesperson for Ogra Shinn Fein said it was “unprecedented”. “We need to see the evidence underpinning this decision. Simply citing ‘solidarity with Britain’ isn’t good enough.
“In this case, a decision has been based on information from a foreign security intelligence service, which is an unprecedented step. Essentially, we are being asked to trust [British Foreign Secretary] Boris Johnson,” they said.
Sinn Fein has also protested recent moves by the Dublin government to undermine Irish neutrality through its support for the EU’s ‘Permanent Structured Cooperation’ (PESCO) in which 25 of the 28 armed forces in the EU, including the 26 Counties, are being integrated.
Des Dalton of Republican Sinn Fein said the 26 County administration was “offering the Irish people up as a pawn in the power games of the big European powers”.
He compared it to the support of Irish nationalist leader John Redmond for Britain during the First World War, which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of young Irish people in battlefields across Europe and the Middle East.
“The expulsion, based on intelligence supplied by the discredited British intelligence services is the act of a vassal state designed to appease their political masters in Brussels and London regardless of the morality and justice of the act itself or the potential consequences for the Irish people,” he said.
“Firstly, the British state continues to deny the essential unity and sovereignty of the Irish nation through its continued political and military occupation of the Six Counties.
“Secondly this is the same British State which has consistently refused to cooperate with any inquiry to establish the role of British intelligence in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 in which 34 people including an unborn baby were killed - the biggest single loss of life in the present conflict.
“The decision to embark on this course of action is in defiance of the wishes of the vast majority of Irish people. It is time for people speak out and in opposition to this slavish appeasement of the EU power bloc and make clear they do not act in our name.”